A few weeks ago, I posted my views on H.R. 3687. In that post, I mentioned that I e-mailed my Congressman and the Chairman and Commissioners of the FCC. I expected a letter in the mail, but received an e-mail response instead. Here is what the e-mail said:
Thank you for writing to let me know of your support for H.R. 3687. I appreciate hearing from you on this issue.
As you know, there have been several instances of foul language being used during award shows over the past year. In October, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Enforcement Board ruled that the use of the F-word, as used by the performer Bono during the Golden Globe awards, did not meet the definition of indecent behavior and therefore did not merit punishment. Many expressed concern that this ruling was in error and that to allow such language on broadcast television, regardless of the context, should be considered indecent. Concerns were also raised that the ruling would create a sprint to the bottom as celebrities and networks tried to one-up each other with increasingly outrageous behavior and language. Unfortunately, the halftime show at the Superbowl proved this was a valid concern.
In response to these events, FCC Chairman Powell announced that he would have the five FCC commissioners review the ruling of the Enforcement Board’s ruling on the Bono incident and that he supported overturning the decision. In addition, Chairman Powell also announced he would seek to raise the maximum fine for decency violations by a factor of ten, from the current $27,500 per incident to $275,000 per incident.
The House Energy and Commerce Committee, which has jurisdiction over broadcast matters, recently held a hearing to examine the FCC’s enforcement policies on decency matters. At this hearing, Representative Fred Upton (R-MI) announced he would be introducing a bill to do as Powell suggested, that is, increasing fines by a factor of ten. I expect this legislation will come before the House in the near future. When it does, I plan to support it.
Again, thank you for taking the time to share your concerns. I hope you will continue to share your views with me in the future.
Member of Congress
I responded immediately. Here’s what I wrote:
If you’d actually read my e-mail to Congressman Davis, you would know that I do NOT support H.R. 3687. Allow me to paste the content of my previous e-mail here. It was as follows:
After reading that the FCC would rule that no use of the “f-word” is acceptable on the airwaves, I discovered that HR 3687 is under consideration. As a constituent of yours, I do not support this bill because it ignores the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
While I am not offended by such language, I understand that others may be offended. However, the purpose of the constitution is to provide majority rule while protecting the rights of the minority. Free speech is a right, not a priviledge. Do not support this bill.
I think the content of the bill is an outrage and illegal under the Constitution. If you support this bill, at least know that you are NOT representing my beliefs or the ideals of the United States.
As for the Super Bowl, the “controversy” was blown out of proportion. I do not feel the halftime display was appropriate, but I also believe that there is too much self-righteous indignation surrounding the event. Please learn to trust Americans to think for themselves.
Based on this issue, I am mortified that you represent my district. Because I support the Constitution, we don’t share the same views. At a minimum, I expect my Congressman to be able to determine that my last e-mail was not a support for H.R. 3687. Please know that I will be working to support any candidate that runs against you in the next election.
My tax dollars at work. If you’re not registered to vote, this is the reason you need to register immediately and vote every November. Stunning.